Cyrenians shared over 3m meals during COVID
Cyrenians’ FareShare depot based in Leith has distributed 1,300 tonnes of food to beneficiaries across the South East of Scotland, creating over 3.1 million meals, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.
The Edinburgh-based charity helps tackle the causes and consequences of homelessness, of which food poverty is a large part.
Lynne Collie, Cyrenians FareShare service manager, said: “Since the beginning of COVID-19 we have seen an increased demand for access to food in a quick, dignified manner. At the height of the pandemic we were supporting over 200 Community Food Members – all of whom are organisations in their own right, serving their local community.
“Our model is two-fold; we prevent unnecessary food waste by working with large supermarkets and food networks to prevent surplus food being sent to waste, whilst helping organisations like Empty Kitchens and Eildon Housing Association to redirect funds into essential frontline work by providing nutritious food at low costs.
“At the beginning of the pandemic the Scottish Government, in partnership with FareShare UK, purchased food in bulk to distribute throughout our network allowing us to really step up our operation. We were in a unique position to provide additional support over the past nine months because of that network; we were already connected to thousands of individuals who were likely to be even further impacted by the negative effects of COVID-19.”
Neil Hay, head of service, added: “The logistics were the most difficult aspect – with an increase in stock we had to consider storage options, staff rotations, physical distancing measures – all of which impacted how we usually operate. We’re based in a small warehouse on Jane Street, with a team of volunteer drivers and a handful of staff.
“We have been fortunate to have received additional volunteer support from Edinburgh University over the past few months, helping us to keep our teams safe while continuing to support as many people as we can.”